Film is a colloid art of storytelling. Visuals play an important role in our lives. Films can also be considered for social change. Film is the biggest and best mass medium which reaches to all the masses. Films are something which is remembered, recalled and relished! Film industry provides employment to so many people. It is the industry which gets together both the highly literate /creative one (director) and a small boy (rarely literate).
There are certain elements which makes a film the magnum opus. The perfect balance of these elements is the success mantra of any film irrespective of any genre. Let’s check out the top 10 elements of film making.
Film in one word is selling the ideas. The entire cast and crew works on how you convey the story, idea, message, entertainment etc. Hence film making is divided into 3 stages: Pre-production, production and post production. 3 stages of film making eventually affects on the quality of the film. The planning, schedule and execution has to be perfect. Take it, sets, location, cast etc. After the film production the publicity and the advertising is what brings the people to the theaters. Some films being good fail at box-office due to low key publicity and pale advertising of the film. Even with minimum guarantee content some films get to become potboilers. Hence there has to be proper planning, call sheet arrangement, cast and crew schedule and the budget control throughout the process of film making.
Now, if we look into technical aspect. Lighting is referred to as the filmmaker’s paintbrush. There has to be control on light it should neither be overexposed nor underexposed. Lighting creates emphasis on the subject in the film. Light and shadows create mood, draws our attention to a specific area, modifies the shape and brings out texture in an object. Shadows also create an effect on depth in the film. Lighting plays a key role and that is why there are so many light boys working for a film.
There are so many types of lighting: Back lighting, side lighting, shadow, etc. The film “Barfi” had a rim light (back light) effect throughout the film which added the visual pleasure to the eyes. Hence lighting decides the movement in a film set. That is why they say lights, camera and action!
Looks strange isn’t? Yes, though star power helps a lot in elevating films. In terms of film making acting is not under top 5. Because a film can never survive on actor or his acting it needs many other components as a support. If it is a star film it can just get the openings but not the complete output of the film. None the less a good acting and good screen chemistry between the lead cast always give goodies to the makers if we look at the present scenario. Yet acting is the creation of the visionary director actor’s part is to follow him. Hence, many small films with new actors win at the box office as well. Therefore, acting plays a key role in film making where the entire work of film making and the work of many departments is seen through the actors and their surroundings. In precise, they are the icon and representation of so many people who work for that film. Amitabh’s acting in Paa may be USP of that film but to design that role the other departments have done fair job. Yet, Amitabh ji steals our heart with one of his finest performances.
7) VFX, CGI and animation:
Is there any film without using VFX, CGI etc? Be it Bollywood, Hollywood or any other. At present most of the films, especially action films are shot in Green mat technique. Rest is carried forward by the graphics. The recent academy award winner “Life of Pi” was entirely shot in a water pool. The tiger was a Computer Generated Image (CGI) and it looked so natural too. So that is the power of VFX all films solely depend on them. Iron Man is also part of it. The 3D effect the mind blowing sfx what not? Not to forget some of the Indian films like Rajinikanth’s Robo and Eega (Makki) gave sheer part of prominence to the VFX. Hence they are part of film making irrespective of any genre. All they need is green screen.
Editing the assemblage of shots to form a particular sequence is an art form that is unique to film making. As a film director one should be completely aware about how film editing works, if he/she is not aware, the film will be a nightmare to edit and will be full of inconsistencies, jump cuts and many other distracting mistakes.
It is editing which makes a film crisp. The unwanted scenes even though very effective but not needed for the story has to cut down to make a film go in a proper flow without hiccups. Many films due to poor editing get bad reviews as length of the films are much bothered now. Hence, being a filmmaker one has to know what has to be in the film and what has to be edited. Clever use of montages and jump cuts makes a film outstanding.
5) Music, dubbing and re-recording:
Once the film is shot it is the audio which enhances the visual, dubbing, re-recording takes a film to next level. And music, how can we forget it. Till date titanic’s “My heart will go on” is played in our music systems isn’t? Hence the recording is the backbone of the film. The background music given of Pirates of Caribbean -1 is always been inspirational and elevated the film to the best. The sound has so much power that it almost gives an audio form of your expression and feelings. Even the old silent films had very good sound quality. Just go back and watch Charlie Chaplin’s films and you will exactly realize how a film works on music.
Usage of camera, how one capture’s the frame is what cinematography is all about. It is all about composing, framing, focusing and continuity in the film. Good camera usage will work wonders for your film. The imaginative and creative camerawork will increase the connection between the audience and your story. Sometimes wacky camera angles give a displeasure feeling as well. Hence the camera is the view point of the audience. So it is very important of film making which should show what audience what to see in sync with what director wants to show. Anything which is one side/one way will not satisfy neither audience nor film maker. The cinematography is an aesthetic are which speaks by itself through visuals.
3) Production values:
The combination of all the above elements comes under production. After all one needs money to use all these and there has to be someone to invest on it. Producers are the owners of any films. They bear the expenses and take up the film production. Many production houses passionately produce films. Hence producer is the money distributor for all the departments. He/she has to be aware of all these elements and a clever producer can make use of it easily and get great celluloid out of it. Hence, the outdoor shoots, sets, foreign shoots, graphics, etc shows the quality and richness of the film and this comes to production values of the film. Production is the source of the film. This is the best quote told by Walt Disney,” We don’t make movies to make money; we make money to make more movies.
He is the mega phone holder of the film. He manages and directs all the departments. What we see in the film is the visionary of his creativity. The director is the head of the film unit. He has to know what he wants from all other departments. One who blends and uses all the elements effectively comes out as a successful director. The director should visualize the script in the perceptive of a camera keeping the audience in mind along the usage of all other films, satisfying all of them and finally getting what he wants. He has to be technically strong as well. Direction is the deciding factor of the film. The director is the ruler of the film.
1) Story, screenplay and dialogues:
It is known to all as the story is the basic plot and a raw story which is a brief extension of an idea, concept or a single line. Story leads to the further development in a film. Script is a cinematic word of the story and hence script is narrated to all the cast and crew and this is the source for all the departments. Story is the backbone of the film and it is hero of the film. Whereas screenplay is a visual writing in other words it is all about how you run your story and how you showcase it. Without a power packed and hooking screenplay you are dead in the sea. Remember beautiful lighting, creative camerawork and smooth editing are pointless if the story/screenplay isn’t compelling. Dialogues are part of screenplay which is the part by part representation of the story. These are building blocks of the film.
Conclusion: So what is film making? It is a combination of so many elements. Film making is a big picture made of many details in it. It is a real craft.